elderly man with walker trying to stand

Telemedicine for Movement Disorders Is Well-Received

A professor at Emory University is finding great success in using telemedicine for movement disorders. Recently, Jaime Hatcher-Martin, MD, PhD, a movement disorders specialist at Emory University Hospital, was asked about her experiences with telemedicine. Having founded Emory’s movement disorders telemedicine clinic, Hatcher-Martin is ready to offer guidance to clinicians who are interested in telemedicine.

Hatcher-Martin’s interest spawned from the difficulties her patients faced in getting to the clinic. Some were unable to drive or had difficulty driving due to movement difficulties or cognitive impairment. Others traveled several hours each way and thus stayed at a hotel the night before the appointment, even though long trips often make them feel more stiff or can trigger problems with cognitive impairment.

After some thought, Hatcher-Martin launched a pilot telemedicine program with the facility’s satellite clinics in rural areas. After a resounding success—including reimbursement—a permanent program has been set up. Patients are thrilled at the newfound ease of arriving at their appointments, especially the older demographic, while the younger patients relate to the use of the technology. The program has become popular with other patients asking to join.

As for advice for other physicians working in telemedicine, she suggested being open with patients and telling them what to expect. However, new patient visits still need to be done in person for tests such as rigidity and reflexes.

Overall, Hatcher-Martin is pleased that the program has been well-received. People are changing, she notes, and so the way healthcare is delivered needs to change too.

To view the video of the interview or read the transcript, visit Neurology Advisor here.

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